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Crazy Old Lady

A Story…The summer of 2012 was a dark time in my life. I was dealing with the brokenness of my marriage and all the baffling chaos that surrounds a family affected by years of addiction. I was without much hope and found myself fighting depression and soul searching.

One morning I was scavenging garage sales in a neighborhood near my house. I found myself at an estate sale, admiring the gorgeous antique furniture lining the driveway. I opened the top drawer of a dresser to find it completely full of tiny pieces of stained glass and tile. Curiosity led me to open all the drawers in her furniture collection...all full of glass. The young woman in the garage watched me, and then I finally asked her to explain. I remember her saying that her great aunt had been a mosaic and stained glass artist. She worked in the Stillwater area on restoration. She shrugged and said, “I just didn’t know what to do with all the glass, so I just left it in the drawers. My aunt didn’t have a family of her own, so I am trying to take care of her estate.

”Like I needed a truck full of glass!!! I walked away, thinking about my five children at home, about how incredibly blessed I was to have them in my life and how I so wanted to leave a legacy of love. I was thinking about the life of this artist who strangely saved every single tiny piece of useless glass! “Crazy old lady!” entered my mind. I turned around and said to the young woman, “Name a price. I’ll take it all.”

Quite honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with a garage full of incredibly heavy totes full of broken glass. I stared at it for weeks, suffering from buyer’s remorse. I could barely afford groceries at the time, and what I really needed was the dresser! I felt connected to an artist I would never meet. I was inspired by her, and I felt richly blessed with children to call my own and a future that was quite possibly bright and meaningful. I vowed to “make it last as long as possible” and use every little piece she saved. I created a few miniature mosaics. I realized that the broken pieces, when combined with a little hope and acceptance, created a new imperfect beautiful. I wore my little mosaics every day around my neck, usually hidden, because I didn’t want anyone to see them at first. I held on tightly to them when I felt lonely, anxious or afraid. They were clutched in my praying hands, and were even tossed across the room in anger. The mosaics became a tangible reminder of God’s healing and peace. I think about “that crazy old lady” every day when I sit at my desk, and I still use her glass in my work. My hope today is that you find your own brokenness to be beautiful.

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